Benevity Blog

How to Communicate Your Giving Campaign for Improved Participation
You’ve created a Goodness Program to address an issue your company is passionate about. Now you need to get people on board – and that’s all about grabbing their attention and getting them involved through an effective communication plan. The good news is that you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to create a compelling narrative that stirs people into taking part. Inspire people at the outset to get them motivated, update frequently to keep them involved, and share the good outcomes and impact afterwards to instill a sense of accomplishment. Here’s a look at how to get the word out, and start-to-finish program communications that get more people participating.

1. The Hook – Grab People’s Attention
In the beginning you need to capture people’s interest and make them feel strongly about the problem. What’s the big issue, and how is it affecting people? Why should people get involved, and what will they help accomplish? Address the Why – through real-life details, powerful pictures, and uplifting examples of the positive outcomes you can help achieve. If you want some best practices, check out charity: water.

Putting it in Action: Plan your initial communication around the Why. Use your email newsletter, blog posts, and internal communications to tell people about the Big Issue – and how you plan to help.

2. Make it Personal – Focus on People
People are much more likely to connect emotionally with a story about an individual person and what’s going on in their life than an abstract problem summary or list of facts. Causes know this and build their messages around the story of a single affected child or family, because that compelling personal story gives us something to connect to. So follow their lead and focus on people – and don’t hesitate to tap into their resources!

Putting it in Action: Reach out to the Causes you’re supporting for resources and material. Visit their websites, link to their videos, and share their anecdotes, case studies and pictures. 

3. Update People on the Effort
You’ve told the story of the Why – now it’s time for the How. This story is all about your team: their giving efforts, their reasons for caring, and what their hard work has accomplished. Update people regularly to connect them with the deeper goals, remind them of the opportunities to take part, and most importantly, show them the good work being done. We need Storytelling, people!

Putting it in Action: Keep people in the loop throughout the program with regular updates. Play to those heartstrings throughout (but without a heavy-hand), and make people feel involved!

4. Use All Your Channels
You have a lot of options when it comes to how you can deliver a message. Which is the most effective? That’s easy: all of them.

  • Have an email newsletter? Great – use it to send the big messages introducing your campaign, key updates over its course, and the great news about how you did when it all wraps up.
  • Keep a blog? Fantastic – you have space to dig deeper and provide some context. Write posts about the larger picture: the issue, the causes you’re helping, and the important work they do.
  • Maintain an active social media network? Awesome – use your Facebook and Twitter feeds, or corporate intranet for frequent fun-to-read updates on what’s happening (getting a tweet or two from the C-Suite helps nicely). Engage people in an ongoing discussion about campaign milestones, inspirational anecdotes, and opportunities to take part.

Putting it in Action: Take advantage of every platform at your disposal to get the word out.

5. Invite Participants to Share
Reach out to participants with an open call for their own stories. Ask about the personal reasons people have been touched by this issue, and why taking part matters to them. You’ll be amazed at how willing people are to open up and share. Hearing their colleagues’ stories will connect deeply with people, and make them eager to get involved.

Putting it in Action: Extend an open call for stories to people taking part in your program. Make it safe to participate by inviting both anonymous and named submissions, and include particularly powerful ones in your next round of communications.

6. Closing the Loop – Outcomes & Impact
Once your program is wrapped up, reach out with the most important part of the story: what you accomplished. Focus on the impact: how many mosquito nets will the funds you raised pay for, and how many people will those mosquito nets protect from malaria? People will be inspired and touched to learn how they’ve really helped.

Putting it in Action: Share how your program helped people, and the tangible things you have achieved to make a real difference in people’s lives. Follow up regularly with updates from the Causes you helped on their continuing work.

By grabbing people’s attention with a story told in real human terms, you’ll connect with them emotionally and make them want to take part. By communicating throughout the program with everything from Tweets to bulletin board notices, you’ll maintain the energy and momentum. And by sharing the real outcomes in concrete terms of how people’s lives have improved, you’ll make people passionate about your team’s accomplishments. The next time you bring them a Goodness opportunity, they’ll be eager to get giving!

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